Navalny is sentenced to ANOTHER 19 YEARS for extremism conviction

Britain demands immediate release of jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny after Kremlin sentence opposition leader to a further 19 years on trumped-up charges of ‘extremism’

  • Navalny was already serving nine years and was given an extra 19 years today
  •  The 47-year-old prominent Putin critic appeared in a behind-closed-doors trial

Britain has demanded the immediate released of jailed Putin critic Alexei Navalny after the Kremlin opposition leader was given a further 19-year sentence for ‘extremism’. 

The 47-year-old appeared in a closed hearing on Friday in a makeshift courtroom at the IK-6 penal colony where he is being held, roughly 155 miles east of Moscow.

Mr Navalny, already serving a nine-year term, was handed nearly two decades more following the behind-closed-doors trial – which has since been dubbed a ‘sham’.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said Moscow’s ‘abuse’ of the opposition leader shows a ‘complete disregard for even the most basic of human rights’ – and demanded his release.

Mr Cleverly tweeted: ‘Alexei @Navalny has been sentenced to an additional 19 years in a Russian prison.

Navalny (pictured, second from left) is already serving 11-and-a-half-years behind bars

Alongside him were several of his supporters who work with him at his non-profit, the Anti-Corruption Foundation

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly this afternoon called for Navalny's 'immediate release'

‘His abuse shows Russia’s complete disregard for even the most basic of human rights.

‘Dissent cannot be silenced. The UK calls for his immediate release.’

One of president Vladimir Putin’s loudest critics, Mr Navalny’s arrest in 2021 came after he returned to Moscow following a period of recuperation in Germany after being poisoned by the Novichok nerve agent.

Mr Navalny denied the charges and warned ahead of the verdict he would be handed a ‘Stalinist’ prison term to ward off other dissenters.

Appearing gaunt in court but displaying a defiant smile, he was convicted of extremism charges relating to his anti-corruption foundation.

He was ordered to serve his latest prison term in a ‘special regime’ penal colony, which are among the harshest prisons in Russia that hold the highest levels of security and the strictest inmate restrictions.

Both the European Union and United Nations have condemned the sentence as ‘unacceptable.’

Navalny now has 10 days to appeal the court’s verdict. If he chooses to, he will not be sent to prison until the appeal has been ruled on. 

It is not currently known whether he and his team will appeal the verdict. If he were to lose an appeal, it could mean he leaves jail at the age of 75.

Prosecutors alleged that he and his non-profit organisation tried to incite a revolution in Russia

Journalists were forced to take pictures of a TV screen as no one was allowed into the makeshift courtroom set up at the maximum penal colony

The sentencing took place behind closed doors in a makeshift courtroom in a maximum security penal colony, more than 100 miles from Mosow

The president of the European Union’s council Charles Michel said of the harsh sentence: ‘The latest verdict in yet another sham trial against Alexei Navalny is unacceptable. 

‘This arbitrary conviction is the response to his courage to speak critically against the Kremlin’s regime.’

Meanwhile, The United Nation’s high commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk insisted that Russia ‘immediately [cease] violations of Navalny’s human rights and release him’.

Other major groups and global figures have spoken out against Navalny’s sentencing.

The UK’s minister for Europe, Leo Docherty, said in a Tweet that the sentencing ‘further demonstrates the Russian state’s contempt for freedom of speech and democratic rights. Russia should immediately release him.’

A spokesperson for France’s foreign office said that the French government was calling on Russia to ‘to free Mr Navalny immediately and without conditions’, adding that his sentencing was a case of ‘judicial persecution.’

Annalena Baerbock. Germany’s foreign minister, condemned the ruling, writing on social media: ‘Russia’s arbitrary justice system imprisoning Alexei Navalny for another 19 years is pure injustice.

‘Putin fears nothing more than standing up against war and corruption and for democracy – even from a prison cell. He will not silence critical voices with this.’

Navalny has claimed that Russia prison officials have been torturing him by playing Putin's speeches to him and other prisoners over and over again

He called on his supporters to break free from the iron grip Vladimir Putin has over Russia

Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s director for eastern Europe and central Asia, said: ‘It is a sinister act of political vengeance that not only targets Navalny personally but serves as a warning to state critics across the country. 

‘The outcome of today’s sham trial offers just the latest example of the systematic oppression of Russian civil society that has intensified since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.’

‘We are following this case closely’, UN Human Rights Office spokesman Jeremy Laurence said during a briefing on Friday before Navalny was sentenced.

The opposition leader called on his supporters to resist Putin’s iron grip on Russia, saying in a statement released on Thursday via Telegram: ‘Better show solidarity with me and other political prisoners by thinking for a minute. Think about why such an exponentially huge [sentence] is needed. 

‘Its main purpose is to intimidate. You, not me. I will even say this: personally to you, who is reading these lines.’

He also starkly predicted that he would be given a brutal ‘Stalinist’ sentence of 18 years.

Russian prosecutors sought an eyewatering 20 years behind bars for the politician, alleging that Navalny created an organisation that undermined public security by carrying out ‘extremist activities’.

Alexei Navalny (right) has been a political dissident in Russia for years, campaigning against corruption

He's been arrested several times for leading and participating in political rallies that challenge Vladimir Putin's regime

The 47-year-old has already been in prison since 2021 after he returned to Russia from Germany

His non-profit group, the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which investigates the ways that Russian officials bend the rules for their own benefit, was banned in 2021 for extremism.

They claimed that though his non-profit he tried inciting a revolution that would’ve destabilised Russia. 

Many of his close allies have either fled the autocratic country or have been jailed themselves.

His former chief of staff Leonid Volkov and others involved in the foundation were also charged with organising or participating in an ‘extremist community’.

This is the fifth time the dissident has been criminally convicted in Russia, and the third time he has been sentenced to jail. 

The politician is already serving 11-and-a-half years in prison. 

Last year, he was given a nine-year sentence after a Russian court found him guilty of large-scale fraud and contempt.

The year before, he was given two-and-a-half years for violating his parole after landing back in Russia from Germany, where he was recovering from allegedly being poisoned by Russian officials with Novichok.

Navalny says that since he was put in the maximum security penal colony, he’s been subjected to torture at the hands of Russian officials. 

He said that prison officials forced him to share a cell with a sickly inmate, and have forced him and other prisoners listen to Putin’s speeches.

He has also complained of health problems and major weight loss since being jailed in a strict regime penal colony.


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